Oregon NFIB: Strengthen small business voice on Election Day

Harlan Levy, State Director, Oregon NFIB
My Voice in Oregon Newsletter, Oct/Nov. 2008

Keep talking and keep leading, Oregon small business owner. You are pulling more voters into the polling place than just yourself. The power of the small business voting bloc is one of the mightiest in the nation, and it will be measured next month on Election Day, when the entire nation will march to the polls and choose candidates up and down the ballot. Here’s what you should know about your size and influence in polls and surveys taken by NFIB, USA Today/CNN/Gallup, Strategy One, Penn and Schoen Associates, Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, and the Winston Group:

• Small business owners make up 15 percent of all registered voters. By comparison, union voters make up 12 percent; African-American voters, 11 percent; first-time voters, 11 percent; and Hispanic voters, 8 percent.

• When employees are added, the small business voting bloc swells to 43 percent.

• Although 43 percent of small business owners contribute financially to causes, the most common political activities in which small employers engage include initiating discussions with employees regarding the impact of a policy issue on the firm.

• 75 percent of voters trust small business owners more than doctors (66 percent), journalists (38 percent) or lawyers (25 percent).

• 68 percent say small business owners are more honest than labor unions (7 percent), the federal government (3 percent) or big business (3 percent).

• 64 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate supported by small business owners and NFIB than for ones supported by labor unions (28 percent) or trial lawyers (9 percent).

The small business voting bloc is enormous and influential, and it has one overriding issue on its mind—healthcare. Of the estimated 46 million Americans without healthcare, more than 27 million are small business owners, their employees or their dependents. Seventy-four percent of voters in the small business voting bloc say fixing America’s healthcare system should be a top priority for the next president. This election, one in three small business owners will make healthcare the central issue on which they vote.

The 2009 Legislature will be considering the recommendations of the Oregon Health Fund Board. Created by Senate Bill 329 in 2007, the seven-member board is developing a comprehensive plan to ensure access to healthcare for Oregonians, contain healthcare costs and address issues of quality in healthcare.

Some of its recommendations could be beneficial to small business, while others could be devastating. That is why it is essential that you vote for candidates who understand and support small business.

Whatever your issue, you command more respect and carry more influence than any other citizen group around. Please don’t forget to vote on or before Nov. 4.

Coming Soon: Your 2009 State Ballot

NFIB is a member-driven organization that bases its federal and state lobbying positions on what its members say is important to their survival as small business owners. Nov. 4 is not the only Election Day in Oregon. Shortly after, you will also receive your 2009 Oregon State Member Ballot, either by mail, fax or e-mail. It is vital you vote it.

Results from your state ballot:

• Are used to set the small business policy agenda for the 2009 session of the Oregon Legislature.

• Are considered by policymakers to be the true and only voice of small business in the state.

• Are used in testimony before legislative committees.

• Are the beginning measurement for lawmakers’ voting records.

• Are widely publicized in the media.

The more ballots NFIB receives back from its members, the louder we can speak and make your voice heard, and the more effective we can be in influencing policy.

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